Monday, July 25, 2011

Cleveland Catholics abuzz over investigation of Bishop Richard Lennon

By Michael O'Malley, The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer
Bishop Richard Lennon's leadership is the subject of a Vatican investigation.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After the recent revelation that Bishop Richard Lennon's leadership of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese is under investigation by the Vatican, local Catholics are abuzz about what might happen next.
But with a shroud of secrecy hanging over the inquiry church activists can only guess.
The Rev. John M. Smith, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J., representing the Vatican, spent five days at the Jesuit Retreat House in Parma beginning July 11 interviewing priests and parishioners about how they perceive Lennon as a spiritual leader.
Such an investigation, known as an Apostolic Visit, is rare by the Holy See, according to at least one lawyer familiar with church law. The review, which Lennon has said he requested, comes in the wake of his reconfiguration of the eight-county diocese which saw the closing of 50 churches since August 2009.
Most were inner-city or ethnic churches, prompting protests and a flurry of letters to the Catholic hierarchy in Rome. More than a dozen parishes filed formal appeals to a Vatican panel and are waiting for verdicts.
One congregation, St. Peter's in downtown Cleveland, in defiance of Lennon's order to disband, broke away from the diocese and, along with its priest, set up its own worship space in a commercial building.
It wasn't clear how many people Smith interviewed during his week-long visit. Sister Mary Ann Flannery, director of the retreat house, estimated 25 to 30 people met with the New Jersey bishop.
See the entire story at the Cleveland Plain Dealer

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